The Ripple Effect from Roman Reigns’ absence extends to Smackdown Live

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…That is the best way to describe the RAW and Smackdown before Survivor Series.

Daniel Bryan’s Heel turn- comes hot on the heels of Smackdown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch being removed from the Women’s Champion match with RAW Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey at Survivor Series.  The buildup got real personal real quick and after the Smackdown invasion on RAW, the last thing anyone wanted or expected was for there to be a last-minute change.

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..,This shot RIGHT HERE.

The Internet EXPLODED when Lynch pulled a Stone Cold and took on the ENTIRE RAW Women’s Team and this was AFTER she DESTROYED Ronda Rousey backstage:

It is revealed on Smackdown the shot to the face Lynch took from Nia Jaxx put her in the Concussion Protocol and will not be cleared to compete at Survivor Series.

For those who may be wondering, Alexa Bliss is also not cleared to wrestle and that’s why she got out the ring when all hell broke lose. She was injured at a live event just before Evolution and was forced to withdraw from the tag match that also involved Mickie James, Lita and Trish Stratus. Alicia Fox took her place in that match and she was at ringside.

Anywho, I think it’s clear we WILL see Lynch and Rousey clash sooner than later. If not TLC then the Royal Rumble or even Wrestlemania. We did  see a crossbrand match between Charlotte and Asuka, who was on RAW at the time at Wrestlemania 34. In other words, there is a precident and the foundation to build the match is already in place.

Looking beyond Survivor Series now. We already know Nia Jaxx has first dibs on the RAW Women’s Champion. On Smackdown, it’s not as clear. Becky Lynch is technically a babyface Heel but her new badass “I am THE MAN” persona has the WWE Universe in love with her since she Turned. She is NOT losing the Smackdown Women’s title anytime soon. As for potential feuds, there is some potential with Sonya DeVille (seems to turning into a Face), Mandy Rose (Seems to be getting a Push) and Lana (To help get her Over). I don’t think Charlotte will be in the title picture again until the buildup to Wrestlemania personally.

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…Getting back to the NEW WWE Champion. Clearly AJ Styles will get his rematch, likely at the TLC PPV. D-Bry’s Heel turn inevitable for two reasons: His wife’s Heel turn last month and more directly, AJ Styles being a babyface. Smackdown has been without a credible top Heel not named The Miz or Randy Orton prettymuch all year. D-Bry’s Heel turn changes that and more so now that the feud between him and Styles is personal.

As for the Universal Championship, obviously Lesnar is just holding it until Roman Reigns returns or he drops it to Braun Strowman, whichever happens first.

 

 

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The Ripple Effect from Roman Reigns’ absence extends to Smackdown Live

Developing Story: John Cena and Daniel Bryan refuse to work Crown Jewel PPV

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The story apparently broke sometime Thursday.

Sources within WWE confirmed Friday morning both John Cena and Daniel Bryan are refusing to travel to Saudi Arabia in reaction to the murder of Washington Post Journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The journalist was brutally murdered in the Saudi Consulate in Turkey by Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. The crown prince denies responsability for the murder and has promised to investigate the journalist’s murder personally.

If the name sounds familiar, he was the deciding factor in both The Greatest Royal Rumble and Crown Jewel taking place in Saudi Arabia. The timing sucks hard for WWE in the aftermath of Roman Reigns being forced to step away from WWE due to his Lukemia coming back. This is on top of Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe both being out due to injury as well as Bobby Lashley reportedly having a separated shoulder.

On RAW, Baron Corbin appointed Bobby Lashley as John Cena’s replacement at Crown Jewel, indirectly referencing the situation by stating he is replacing someone who never earned their spot.

The following night on Smackdown, AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan opened the night with their match originally meant for Crown Jewel. AJ Styles retained after a match that lasted 30 minutes. Samoa Joe, who was reportedly out with an injury for a few weeks attacked Styles and D-Bry after their match. Later that night, AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe for the title at Crown Jewel was set.

Kudos to WWE for responding quickly while also not taking the WWE Championship match off the card. Obviously D-Bry would be booked to lose the match on Smackdown since he wouldn’t be going to Saudi Arabia (and I suspect he was booked to lose at Crown Jewel originally too). Plus it was the perfect excuse to reintroduce Shane McMahon as the Smackdown GM. Paige held it down at Evolution so I wouldn’t be surprised if she was just given the night off.

Back on topic and in closing though. Cena and D-Bry will obviously not be punished for refusing to work Crown Jewel. There’s only a handful of Active superstars who can basically back out at the last minute like they did despite the matches they’re involved in being built up for almost a month straight. Randy Orton, Kurt Angle, Triple H (though he wouldn’t obviously), The Undertaker (same as Triple H), Rey Mysterio, The Miz and Brock Lesnar all come to mind. Everyone else would be severely punished. Folks need to be mindful Baron Corbin’s botched cash-in last year was punishment for arguing with a guest speaker backstage in front of the Smackdown roster. So…yeah.

Anywho, the show will go on. Shane McMahon promising to fire the Smackdown Superstar who loses tells me a Smackdown superstar will win Best in the World Tournament at the Crown Jewel PPV. My money’s on Randy Orton or Rey Mysterio winning personally. The Blue Brand can’t afford to lose Orton (second best Heel on the roster) or the Miz (best Heel on the roster).

Mysterio being cut from the Smackdown Roster to compete on 205 Live would give the Cruiserweight Division the badly needed star power they were hoping for when Enzo Amore was brought in from RAW. You can believe folks would tune in just to watch him perform if he loses in the final round.

From the RAW side, I do see Bobby Lashley or Kurt Angle winning in the end. Ziggler doesn’t make sense given he’s clearly about to split from Drew McIntyre sooner than later. Rollins is booked to defend the Intercontinental Championship against Dean Ambrose at TLC so…yeah.

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Developing Story: John Cena and Daniel Bryan refuse to work Crown Jewel PPV

Breaking News: Daniel Bryan Medically Cleared to return to in-ring action by WWE

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WWE.com broke the news a few moments ago and the internet is breaking as we speak.

Two years ago, D-Bry was fored to retire from in-ring competition wrestling for medical reasons. He would become the Smackdown GM later that year. At first, there was speculation that WWE just would not clear him to wrestle. D-Bry got a second opinion that backed up WWE’s findings, putting to rest hopes  that he would leave for another promotion that would allow him to compete.

Ring of Honor Wrestling (ROH) boldly stated their confidence they could sign D-Bry after his contract with WWE expires later this year. This threat is likely why D-Bry had likely been getting set up for a Heel turn with the “Yep” movement angle involving Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn on Smackdown.

…Well, plans change as they say. This would also explain D-Bry’s recent on-air absences from Smackdown. We already know aside from not being medically cleared, D-Bry stayed in shape. The timing for Wrestlemania aside, WWE is not only rewarding his loyalty to the company under the circumstances but giving a giant middle finger to ROH, New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) and other promotions who marked their calendars for when D-Bry’s contract will expire.

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It’s almost a given WWE offer him a very generous new contract. His wife Brie Bella, who participated in the Women’s Royal Rumble in January (along with her twin sister Nikki) has been tight-lipped about her return to the main roster. She gave birth to their daughter last year and proved to herself she’s still got it in January. I can’t help but assume she held off making her return until her husband was cleared to return to the ring.

Given D-Bry is scheduled to return on tonight’s episode of Smackdown, it will be interesting to see what his plans are given the news he can now wrestle. If WWE is smart, they’ll tie in his in-ring return with D-Bry’s. Kurt Angle will be teaming with Ronda Rousey to face Triple H and Stephanie McMahon in a mixed match at Wrestlemania 34. A Smackdown equivalent would probably be the “safe” route: Dy-Bry and Brie Bella vs. a mixed team. The problem is the female participant would have to be pulled from the Wrestlemana Women’s Battle Royale. Preferably someone who would mesh well wth a male Superstar as her partner.

The only pairs who come to mind also happen to be couples themselves: Naomi and Jimmy Uso as well as Rusev and Lana (I excluded Mike and Maria Kanellis, who are also on the Smackdown roster because the latter is pregnant and due soon). I really like Jimmy and Naomi vs. D-Bry/Brie but since the Usos are the current Tag Team Champions it would be Rusev and Lana by default. The alternative is making a team ala Mixed Match Challenge from the current roster and you can’t do that on the spot without building the match with random pairings.

…An alternative is to change one of the matches on the card from a singles match to a tag match and I think it would work with little buildup. I’m talking changing the match involving Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn at WM34 to a tag team match involving D-Bry and Shane vs. KO and Zayn. We will get some hints on how his in-ring return will be handled tonight on Smackdown and thankfully, the there’s no way it can be screwed up. LOL.

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Breaking News: Daniel Bryan Medically Cleared to return to in-ring action by WWE

The Bella Twins give a timeline for their in-ring return

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Total Bellas’ season finale this week took viewers into the delivery room as Brie and D-Bry welcomed their daughter Birdie Joe Danielson (reminder: Daniel Bryan’s real name is Bryan Danielson so his on-screen name is basically his name reversed) into the world. Of course, she was actually born several months earlier. In addition, Brie chronicled her pregnancy via Social Media.

With fans clamoring and wonderng when and if Brie and her sister Nikki would return to the Squared Circle, they briefly addressed the subject while discussing the season premeire of Total Divas. Nikki announced earlier this year when asked she would only return when her sister was ready. She also hinted her wedding plans will be “small and moved up”, hinting she wants to make sure both she and her sister are ready to go at the same time.

The twins have tenatively set their return for “sometime” in 2018. In addition they hinted they may make a cameo appearance at Wrestlemania 34. Brie revealed she has already starting working out and is preparing for her return to in-ring action. She also stated she and D-Bry are going to try to have another baby in the near future, possibly as soon as this time next year or early 2019. So, her in-ring return will last until then at least.

Finally, this bring us to the question of which brand they would be on. Brie would be fine on either brand but we could see her put on RAW to work with Asuka and Ronda Rousey when the latter officially signs with WWE. Or we could see her put on Smackdown where her husband is General Manager so they can travel together. This feels like the more likely outcome to me personally. Nikki was on Smackdown before she left after Wrestlemania 33 and would presumably return to the Smackdown roster. Assuming both Bellas are on the same roster, they would definitelty be reintroduced as a Face.

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…In related news, there is renewed speculation D-Bry may leave for Ring of Honor Wrestling (ROH) when his contract with WWE expires next year. For those who need a refresher, D-Bry’s in-ring career in WWE came to an end after he reinjured his neck next two years ago during a spot with Kane. WWE understandably refuses to allow him to wrestle for liability reasons but he is being paid a Superstar salary despite the “no compete” clause. Mind you, at the time the career-ending injury happened, he’d just married Brie.

In the unscripted promo he did with The Miz on Talking Smack last year he flatly said “They [WWE] won’t clear me wrestle.” to which The Miz suggested he go to another ptomotion. On that note, ROH seemed to hint when asked in an interview earlier this month they think D-Bry will return to indie promotions when his WWE contract expires and “they will be happy to have him”.

To those who would rather he suffer a life-threatening injury just to see him wrestle again, think about this: D-Bry fought WWE’s findings and searched for a doctor who could help him get back in the ring. What he found instead was the injury was alot more serious than he thought and no amount of time will change that. More so now that he is a father. He is alot of things but he won’t do that to his family.

His wrestling career may have ended early but it’s the fans, not D-Bry who need to accept that reality. Sure, another promotion would clear him to wrestle. Clearly both ROH and New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) would. The more important question is “Should he?” The answer is obviously no or he would have asked WWE to release him two years ago.

It makes more sense for him to stay on as a personality in WWE than go elsewhere. He’s got financial security and could easily transition into another role within WWE. He will be given that option if he renews his WWE contract. More so since his wife and sister in-law will be back by then.

 

The Bella Twins give a timeline for their in-ring return

Daniel Bryan launches Smacking Talk via Instagam this week

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Two weeks ago, WWE announced via Twitter the July 11 episode of Talking Smack would be the last one. The problem is the show’s hosts Daniel Bryan and Renee Young found out when everyone else did (LOL!). It was out of nowhere. Vince McMahon made the call to can Talking Smack. He reportedly didn’t like the show and pulled the plug due to low ratings despite it’s mega popularity and the creation of its RAW counterpart, RAW Talk (LOL).

Talking Smack’s ratings stock fell when 205 Live was put in its time slot after Smackdown and clearly Vince did that on purpose to justify cancelling the show. Well, have no fear: Daniel Bryan is bringing it back in the form of Smacking Talk. The reason for the name change is like RAW Talk, Talking Smack will live on as a post-PPV show like RAW Talk currently does. D-Bry will live stream Smacking Talk via Instagram after Smackdown every week and presumably got cleared by WWE to do it.

It really is a shame Talking Smack was canned as it was mega popular. Who can forget the episode last year when the Miz broke character during his rant against D-Bry? Suddenly, the feud between them felt alot more personal. The show was a great way for Smackdown Superstars to build their characters further post-show and it’s a damned shame it’s now gone. Hopefully, D-Bry can convince WWE to bring it back.

Daniel Bryan launches Smacking Talk via Instagam this week

John Cena Returns December 27

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…While it is true Smackdown shares RAW’s problem of not properly utilizing its veteran talent, I hope Vince McMahon’s new year’s resolution is to make John Cena put people over. Let’s be honest, this is the REAL reason Cena was absent for much of the year. Cena does not want to put people over. And everyone knows it. That’s probably why ‘Taker was brought in to help put people over going into January.

Cena was put on Smackdown specifically to put people over. He knows that more than anyone. AJ Styles is technically a vet (TNA, NJPW and so on) but he’s only been with WWE for about a year. Fortunately, AJ’s been doing a hell of a job as a Babyface Heel and was Over with the crowd from Day One. The problem with Cena is he doesn’t want to put people over and will likely want to be put in the title hunt when he returns next week.

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…Not gonna lie, I had no idea Dean Ambrose and Rene Young were dating. It does sound like The Miz will be feuding with Ambrose in the near future, though. A rumor I’ve been hearing for months is Rene has been training for in-ring action alongside Lana, who recently made her NXT debut. Could be interesting if it does happen given how much those who are part of Totally Divas go out of their way to diss her on the air.

The Natalya/Nikki feud that became official this week. D-Bry’s in a bit of a tough situation in part because of his role as the Smackdown GM and being Nikki’s brother in law. That and he obviously doesn’t want to say anything that could cause problems between him and his potential future brother in-law John Cena.

I bring that up given Cena told Nikki when they started dating a few years ago he has no interest in getting married again (Reminder: He cheated on his wife and the left her during the Super Cena Era, which WWE covered up because of his “nice guy” image). Cena recently said he’s open to marriage in part because of Brie and D-Bry getting married and the Bellas’ mom getting engaged to former RAW GM John Lauranitis.
What does all that matter? Carmella’s been bringing up Cena alot during her feud with Nikki ever since she returned earlier this year. Next week could be REAL interesting if Cena gets involved in the feud. I’m actually expecting that if Cena doesn’t get (another) free shot at the Smackdown Championship.

John Cena Returns December 27

The Undertaker returns for Smackdown’s 900th Episode

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The Phenom returned for the first time since Wrestlemania and the first thing he did was get in the face of the man he faced in a Hell in a Cell Match in April. Shane McMahon, who dove off the top of the cell at the end of the match and came back like nothing happened the following night (LOL!). Speaking of, ‘Taker called the Smackdown Commissioner “The man who has no fear”, referring to their match at Wrestlemania.

Speaking to the WWE Universe, The Deadman said “Wrestlemania would no longer define who I am. I’m here for taking souls and digging holes”. Translation: The Undertaker is now a member of the Smackdown roster. He’s not going to be at Survivor Series but he has promised swift punishment should Team Smackdown’s Mens team lose. It’s worth noting he was looking at the WWE Championship when he gave his warning.

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Noticably absent from the 900th Episode were The Rock and John Cena. The Rock sent out a message via Instagram congratulating the brand based on his catchphrase on its 900th Episode. Hopefully he’ll be able to make it in person to the 1000th episode, which will likely be sometime in 2019.

While there was no explaination for Cena’s absence, he is scheduled to make an appearance next week following Survivor Series. It’s like I said a few months ago: Cena was drafted to Smackdown to help boost ratings. While the brand has been doing fine without him, he should at least be visible. Cena hasn’t appeared since his Triple Threat Match with AJ Styles and Dean Ambrose at No Mercy.

 

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Smackdown’s  Survivor Series Mens team (with team mascot james Ellesworth) invaded RAW when it looked like Shane and D-Bry’s meeting with Steph and Foley was about to end very badly. When all hell broke loose, Team RAW managed to drive off Team Smackdown thanks in no small part to the Monster Heel Braun Strowman.

The following night, RAW Women’s Champion Charlotte showed up during Nikki Bella’s match with Carmella and grabbed a seat at ringside. Things went to hell fast when the team captains started going at it. When the action moved into the ring the rest of Team RAW–Sasha Banks, Baley, Nia Jaxx and Alicia Fox–stormed the ring and attacked Nikki and Carmella, who tried to aid her fellow Smackdown teammate desite being opponents moments earlier. Team Smackdown coach Natalya arrived with the rest of Team Smackdown–Naomi, Alexia Bliss and Smackdown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch–but it didn’t look like it would be enough to slow down Nia Jaxx. A missed tackle took her out of comission and evened the playing field for Team Smackdown, which managed to fend off the rest of Team RAW.

This is the first time we’ve seen cross-brand clashes since the buildup for Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton’s match at Summer Slam a few months ago. Of course, it makes sense given Survivor Series is a cross-brand Pay Per View. The next cross-brand Pay Per View will be the Royal Rumble in January.

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Unsurprisingly, The Miz reclaimed the Intercontinental Championship. When Dolph Ziggler hold the title close before the match started, I knew he was booked to lose the title. The Miz will defend the IC title against RAW Superstar Sami Zayn at Survivor Series.

The Miz wasted no time rubbing his victory into D-Bry’s face on Talking Smack after Smackdown went off the air. The Smackdown GM reluctantly said he would be pulling for The Miz to successfully defend the IC Title at Smackdown: If the Miz loses the title, the IC title goes to RAW.

Personally, I think The Miz will retain. My reason for saying that is because of what D-Bry said after The Miz left the set. He said he’d been looking into trading The Miz to RAW for Sami Zayn or Caesaro. Of course, that was before he won back the IC title. There’s also the fact Stephanie McMahon said Sami Zayn will likely be off the roser if he fails to bring the IC title to RAW two weeks ago. So yeah, it makes more sense for Zayn to lose at Survivor Series, get released and sign with Smackdown. Dude kinda needs space to come into his own. He hasn’t really been used well on RAW.

…Plus RAW needs to make room for the eventual return of Finn Balor ala Seth Rollins.

The Undertaker returns for Smackdown’s 900th Episode